This was my first big tour trip from Connecticut.An older bother, of a friend, needed riders in their VW bus to go to Red Rocks. So me an a friend jumped at the chance.After the last show in Morrison my buddy Paul and I were hitching a ride to Santa Fe, many poeple were even not going yet, but a older head originally from Massachusetts,said jump in and we were off.It is 600 miles so we drove all night long non stop, she had been tripping, and we talked up a storm. We arrived in New Mexico at dawn and the Downs was right off I-25. The gracious woman was broke, like us, and after driving us all the way their she decided to go back home. We gave her all the money we could for gas and she disappeared into the dawn.There was camping on site, so we set up shop and hung out. I had $200 in travlers checks , but since I had no ID innocent mistake, I could not use them. So we could not go into town which was about 8 miles away. That night everyone rolled in and the next morning we awoke to a joyous camp of tour heads and hard core hippys. It was one of my most memoriable experiences ever and except for some light smoke, was a drug free experience. The day before was beautiful but a cold front moved through during the show and we got that amazing rainbow. Today was a typical New Mexico day, glorious blue skies with high cumlus clouds rolling by. Santa Fe is at the foot of the Sandia de Cristos mountains due east and you could see 50+ miles to the north, west and south, all high mountain desert, so simply it was a spectatular setting.The only problem was I had run out of money and had no ticket. The Shiks, from Espanola, who ran security were very nice, but as the show started there were an handful of us us wanted to get in, we joked with them about letting us in but they would not just let us have our way.We were in an area that had access and was below the seating, which was supported by large concrete pillars During Alabama as one of them made his rounds I realized I could dash and hide behind a pillar and then wait until he looked away and sprint in. Well we all just went for it and it worked and plus the guys did not chase us in anyways, they just laughed.It was the only time I ever snuck into a show but it was that loose. Once in you could prcatically walk right up the the stage and hang out.Never seen anything like it since. The first set featured an amazing GSET, a sing along Dire Wolf and a still infant Bucket, with Jerry slight off key to start. Mid set was very good with great versions of all songs.West LA was a stand out. CC was surpising so late in the set but the band was so relaxed, they quickly went into Might as Well realizing the set had to end sometime.Set II starts off with another furious Help> Slip> Franklin's, the latter being extremely well played and joyous. Phil sounds so good on this show and the mix of the entire band is excellent.The high light has to be the scorching Let it Grow,the only 2nd set one I ever saw, it just explodes and the end jam is one of the best of the post'74 era. He's Gone really was nice too and played quite well, the older heads really appreciated it. The Truckin is great and then into a ranchy Wang Dang, with the whole band really playing it out segues into a very strong Morning Dew, the high light being the middle bridge jam. A rocking Around is followed by a breath taking Sugar Magnolia which is excellent and then Jerry sends us on our way with a rocking US Blues. At the time they had THE best tour shirt ever sold at the show, a blue shirt with a dancing dead head kachina holding lightning bolts and roses, maybe you have seen it? Anyways I could not buy it, see above mentioned situation. I did get a flyer with the same symbol which I still have.15
+ later GDM reissued it and I was able to score one. When I wear it and some one ask were you there? With a big smile and a resounding yes! These shows really had the best of everything and are hold there own in dead head lore. After the show the late day light was incredible and as a the sun set, the landscape bathed in golden light, an older head was sitting on has car hood just smiling and awed by the beauty and said "this is why I live in New Mexico". It caputures you like that, the land, the light and the big sky,and eventually I made my home there too,in 1999, and lived there for six years.These shows had everything to do with it.